China’s Top Health Body Stops Publishing Daily COVID-19 Case Figures as Infections Soar

Wire Service
By Wire Service
December 25, 2022Chinashare

China’s top health authority has announced that it has stopped publishing daily COVID-19 case numbers, as reports claimed that the true toll of the country’s ongoing outbreak is much worse than the official figures published by authorities.

The National Health Commission (NHC) said Sunday that “relevant outbreak information” would instead be published by China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a sub-department managed by the NHC. The decision to delegate its case counts to a lower authority comes as China experiences an unprecedented coronavirus wave.

The statement did not say how often China’s CDC would publish its COVID-19 reports. Traditionally, China’s CDC only publishes monthly digests for all infectious diseases regulated under Chinese law, ranging from seasonal flu to Hepatitis B and plague.

Since the Chinese regime drastically eased its COVID-19 restrictions earlier this month, there has been no clear data on the extent of the virus’ spread on the national level.

China no longer officially tallies its total number of infections, after authorities shut down their nationwide network of PCR testing booths and said they would stop gathering data on asymptomatic cases. People in China are now using rapid antigen tests to detect infections and are under no obligation to report positive results.

Health officials in China’s Zhejiang province, located just south of Shanghai, said Sunday they were seeing more than one million new COVID-19 cases a day. The province has a population of 64 million according to latest census data published in 2021. According to CNN calculations, it would indicate around 1,563 new daily infections per 100,000 people.

The 9-million-resident city of Qingdao in the northern Shandong province is also seeing around half a million new infections every day, the city’s health chief Bo Tao told journalists on Friday, adding that the peak is yet to come. According to CNN calculations, this represents 5,556 infections per 100,000 population.

In the southern manufacturing hub of Dongguan, a city with a population of more than 10 million, health officials said Friday they are seeing between 250,000 and 350,000 new cases daily.

“Infection numbers are increasing at an accelerating rate in Dongguan, our health system and health workers are facing and unprecedented challenge and immense pressure,” the city’s health authority said in a statement.

Grim Estimates

Almost 250 million people in China may have caught COVID-19 in the first 20 days of December, according to an internal estimate from the nation’s top health officials, Bloomberg News and the Financial Times reported Friday.

If correct, the estimate—which CNN cannot independently confirm—would account for roughly 18 percent of China’s 1.4 billion people and represent the largest COVID-19 outbreak to date globally.

The figures cited were presented during an internal meeting of China’s National Health Commission (NHC) on Wednesday, according to both outlets—which cited sources familiar with the matter or involved in the discussions. The NHC summary of Wednesday’s meeting said it delved into the treatment of patients affected by the new outbreak.

The figures are in stark contrast to the public data of the NHC, which reported just 62,592 symptomatic cases in the first 20 days of December. CNN has reached out to the NHC for comment.

Facing growing skepticism that it is downplaying COVID-19 deaths, the CCP recently defended the accuracy of its official tally by revealing it had updated its method of counting fatalities caused by the virus.

According to the latest guidelines from the National Health Commission, only those whose death is caused by pneumonia and respiratory failure after contracting the virus are classified as COVID-19 deaths, Wang Guiqiang, a top infectious disease doctor, told a news conference Tuesday.

Those deemed to have died due to another disease or underlying condition, such as in the event of a heart attack, will not be counted as a virus death, even if they were sick with COVID at the time, he said.

Officially, the CCP had reported only eight COVID-19 deaths this month as of Dec. 22—a strikingly low figure given the rapid spread of the virus.

The official tally has been met with disbelief and ridicule online, where posts mourning loved ones dying of COVID abound. Caixin, a Chinese financial magazine known for its investigative pieces, reported on the deaths of two veteran state media journalists infected with COVID-19, on days the official toll stood at zero.

The CNN Wire contributed to this report.

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